Sunday, April 6, 2008
Everybody Loves to Stick with a Loser
I was a big Red Sox fan when I was a kid, but I didn't follow baseball at all through my angsty teenage years. (A lot of that was due to my parents' watching the Braves play every single night when I wanted to watch whatever terrible sitcom I wanted to watch.) But once I got to college, I started supporting the Sox (and reluctantly, the Braves) again.
The Sox weren't that good in 2002, just like they haven't been that good for nearly a century. But now they've won two World Series, and following them is different. It's a little like watching your favorite indie-rock band hit the big time; you're afraid that people are going to think you listen to them only because they're popular.
The Sox aren't doing so hot so far this year--today's game was a bloodbath and an embarrassment--and somehow that makes me feel better about supporting them. What is it about losers and especially losing sports teams that attracts us? The Red Sox and the Cubs both have huge national followings--even when the Red Sox were terrible and even though the Cubs still haven't won in decades.
I've got no answers, and I'm counting on Joel to provide them.